I remember fishing blindly. It was a slow and laborious experience, and it almost made fishing feel like a chore. Then, I got my first Lowrance fish finder.
Lowrance has had a hold on the fish finder market for a long time, and they’ve produced some of the best fish finders available. The best part is that they won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
To help you finally understand what the bottom of your local lake looks like, I’ve reviewed five of the best Lowrance fish finders that you can get.
Before we get to the reviews, let’s look at the different things that you should consider before buying a fish finder.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Fish Finder
Over the next few sections, I’m going to go over the key features that you should look for when purchasing a new fish finder.
Depth And Range
The depth and range that a fish finder can read at depends heavily on its scanning technology. If it has down-imaging technology, it’ll perform really well when scanning very deep water beneath your boat. If it has side-scanning technology, it’ll perform really well when you’re scanning the shallows for spawning bass and bluegill. We’ll talk more about scanning technology next, but for now, let’s talk about the numbers that will actually make a difference when you fish.
You probably won’t need to scan the depths of a 300-foot deep lake, and you’ll probably have problems finding one of those in the first place. So, don’t focus on buying a fish finder with the most impressive range and reading depth unless you know that you’ll be fishing in those depths.
You do want a fish finder that can accurately read depths of 120-feet or more, though. Most freshwater fish are caught within that range, and that’s more than enough range to read most bodies of water that you’ll find on the mainland.
Luckily, most fish finders that are available can accurately read depths that are much deeper than that. So, you shouldn’t have any problems finding one that meets this criteria.
If you like to fish in the ocean, you will appreciate a fish finder that has a very long range, though. It’s not uncommon for deep sea fishermen to fish in depths of more than 300-feet.
The type of imaging technology that your fish finder has will drastically change the experience that you have while using it.
As I said in the previous section, down-imaging systems scan directly beneath your boat, and they often scan very deep depths. Side-imaging systems scan away from your boat, and they’re typically better for scanning the shallower areas of the water.
In general, you’ll want to use down-scanning technology if you like to fish deeper areas, and you’ll want side-scanning technology if you like to fish the shallows for feeding catfish and spawning bass or bluegill.
Luckily, you won’t have to purchase two different fish finders if you like to have a versatile setup. Most high-end fish finders have both types of scanning technology built-in, and you can usually switch between the two with the press of a button. Sometimes, both systems will run simultaneously, and they’ll display their results at the same time. However, those units tend to be pretty expensive.
You probably don’t want to stare at a tiny screen all day if you use your fish finder a lot. Larger screens will make it easier for you to quickly check your fish finder while you handle other tasks on your boat.
Size isn’t the only thing that matters, though. As you probably know, lighting conditions can change drastically over the course of a single fishing trip. You want to have a display that is properly lit, and a decent resolution is also a necessity.
Fishing is something that requires you to take in a lot of information. You have to know the conditions that you’re fishing in, and you have to know what the underwater environment is like. However, a lot of fish finders only take poor-quality scans of the lake’s floor, and they tend to leave out crucial information such as curvature, temperature, barometer, and other things that affect where the fish like to hide.
If you buy a good fish finder, you can gain access to all of that information, and you can use that information to increase the fruitfulness of your fishing trips.
You can find fish finders that barrage you with information, and I definitely suggest choosing one of those, but if you don’t have the money for one, here’s a list of the bare necessities that your fish finder needs.
- Temperature reading
- Curvature reading
- Structure mapping
- Size charting
Lowrance Fish Finder Reviews: TOP 5 Products
Now that I’ve told you about the various things that you should consider when purchasing a new fish finder, I want to share my favorite Lowrance fish finders with you.
There are five Lowrance fish finder reviews for you to go over and choose from, and each one covers one of the best Lowrance fish finders on the market. However, they’re very different from one another, and you’ll have to look at their key features to figure out which one is best for you.
#1 Hook2 Triple-Shot
The Hook2 Triple-Shot comes in four different models, but the main difference between each model is the size. However, the 12-inch model has maps pre-loaded into it, and the smaller models require you to download maps to an SD card. I recommend buying the screen size that matches your needs, and you can more or less forget about the pre-loaded maps unless you don’t know how to download your own.
Other than that, each model has an intuitive touchscreen that utilizes the same type of menu system that your smartphone uses. So, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to learn how to use your Hook2. I personally would have loved it if my first fish finder didn’t have a bunch of complicated buttons.
It also automatically tunes its sonar system to keep you from having to calibrate it yourself, and the sonar cone uses CHIRP technology to increase its coverage area. That allows you to see more of the pond without setting up multiple transducers.
Speaking of transducers, it’s easy to set up the Hook2’s transducer. You only need one, and you can mount it to pretty much any part of your boat with a few basic screws and nuts.
Finally, it has down-imaging and side-imaging technology built-in, and both scanning methods read the temperature, structural design, curvature, and depth of the fishing area that you’re in. They also tell you how big individual fish are.
- Four screen sizes to choose from
- 12-inch model comes with pre-loaded maps
- Single-transducer setup
- Easy installation
- Provides plenty of in-depth information
- Some people might not like having to download their own maps onto an SD. That issue can be resolved by buying the 12-inch version, but that produces its own issues since it’s large and expensive.
I like to look at the Hook-3X as a great budget option that gives you all of the information you need, but it lacks some of the fancy features that Lowrance’s more expensive models have.
The Hook-3X has a three-inch screen, and that may seem a bit small to most people, but it provides every bit of information that a fisherman needs to understand what’s going on in their local fishing hole. So, I think it’s a fair trade considering its budget-friendly price.
The Hook-3X can read the temperature at various depths, the structures present in the water, the hardness of the bottom of the water, the curvature of the water column, and any movements that fish make.
I particularly like its ability to read the hardness of the water’s bottom. It’s important for targeting catfish and other bottom-dwellers, and it allows you to know what to expect if you like to bounce lures off of the bottom.
It is a little difficult to read all of that information on a three-inch screen, though. Luckily, the Hook-3X has an automatic tuning feature that adjusts its settings to make fish more visible when they’re nearby, and it helps the important information stand out the most.
- Lots of information for a budget-friendly price
- Adjusts itself to compensate for its small screen
- A lot of advanced fishermen won’t like the three-inch screen. If you’re already spending tons of money on other pieces of tackle, you’ll be better off spending a few more bucks on a larger unit. However, it’s a great fish finder for budget-oriented fishermen.
The Elite-7X is a seven-inch fish finder that dominates when it comes to jigging for deeply submerged crappie and bottom-dwellers. However, it’s not very good for shallow fishing spots, and it doesn’t come with any bonus features.
When you buy the Elite-7X, you get a no-nonsense piece of equipment that only has down-imaging technology. The down-imaging system is enhanced with CHIRP technology, and it can read even the deepest freshwater fishing holes.
What’s more impressive is that it provides high-quality images throughout the entirety of its range. It doesn’t lose image quality as you scan deeper waters. It can also pick up fish at faster speeds than other fish finders. So, you won’t miss any fish if you’re trolling around at a fast pace.
I would have loved to have this fish finder when I was fishing deep quarries for the bigger fish that stayed away from the surface. However, it’s not something that I’ll ever use for bank fishing or shallow lakes and rivers. Its lack of side-scanning technology means that you have to get directly over fish in shallow water, and that can lead to scraping the bottom of your boat, or you can scare the fish away.
- Great for deep fishing holes
- High-quality imaging
- Picks up fish at fast speeds
- Easy to use
- It won’t scan anything in shallow water unless you’re right above it. Depending on how shallow the water is, that can be dangerous, or it can scare away fish. Buy this if you love fishing in really deep water.
#4 HDS Live
The HDS Live is another Lowrance fish finder that comes in several variants. The four main models only differ in size, but there are also carbon models and Gen-3 models available. I’ll focus on the four main models for this review, but you should definitely check out the others.
First, the HDS Live has one of the most impressive sonar systems available. It uses two different variants of StructureScan software to make 3D renderings of the underwater environment, and it can produce 2D scans that are high-definition images with photo-realistic qualities. Essentially, that means that you won’t be staring at poorly-drawn representations of fish and structures with this fish finder.
It also has down-imaging and side-imaging technology to allow you to fish in practically any type of water, and both scanning systems utilize the StructureScan technology that I mentioned earlier.
A few bonus features really round out the HDS Live system. First, it has pre-loaded maps. That’s not too uncommon, and in the HDS Live’s price range, it’s expected to have built-in maps. However, it also has a built-in navigation system that automatically plots routes that keep you away from hazards in the water. The automatically plotted routes won’t show you obstacles such as recently downed trees floating in the water, but they will show you fixed hazards that the area is known for. I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful that feature would have been the last time I went fishing in a particularly messy lake.
- High-quality imaging that’s easy to read
- StructureScan technology
- Side-imaging and down-imaging
- Four screen sizes to choose from
- Don’t rely on the automatic routing system to keep you away from all obstacles. It doesn’t show you floating logs or other obstacles that move around. If you don’t pay attention, you can still wreck, and that’s something that Lowrance needs to be transparent about.
#5 Elite-7 Ti2
The Elite-7 Ti2 is essentially an upgraded version of the Elite-7. It has the same seven-inch screen, but it has a clearer display, and it separates your target fish from the rest of the information that it provides.
It uses four separate screen sections to display structures, curves in the bottom, and fish targets with its high-definition scans, and it has a pre-loaded map system that helps you find the right spots to start scanning. On top of that, the map system updates itself as you explore. So, you never have to worry about reading an outdated map.
I don’t like that it’s another option that only has down-imaging sonar systems. That makes it practically useless in shallower fishing holes.
However, it doesn’t require a transducer. It relies on a networking system and a built-in sonar cone to scan your fishing environment. So, when you set it up, you just have to mount the screen to your preferred spot, and you don’t have to worry about screwing a transducer into your boat. That helps to offset the inconvenience of not having side-imaging technology.
- Great for deep water
- High-quality imaging
- Separates fish targets from other information
- No transducer to install
- If you like to fish in shallower fishing holes, you’ll want to buy a different option. The lack of side-imaging is a major drawback.
In my opinion, the Hook2 is the clear winner of this roundup. It displays all of the information that you absolutely need, it’s easy to read, and it comes in four different sizes. It’s just a great all-around fish finder, and it’ll please the majority of the people that give it a try.
However, the 3X is a great budget option, and new fishermen will probably enjoy it more. The HDS Live is something that will appeal to the most elite fishermen. It’s expensive, but it has all of the bells and whistles that elite fishermen require.
I hope that you liked these Lowrance fish finder reviews, and I suggest picking your first fish finder from this list. There’s at least one option that will suit your specific needs, and your fishing efficiency will rise dramatically with one.